By BRETT MARSHALL
SUBLETTE — If one could have listened to the two halftime speeches by Hugoton's Andy Gillen and Sublette's Monty Marlin, it would have been difficult to know which team was leading 30-24 at intermission.
Gillen gave his Lady Eagles a stern lecture about playing better defense, and getting the ball inside to his 6-1 senior post player, Nicole Kinser.
Marlin told his Lady Larks that he was happy with the way they had played. In fact, he was about as happy as, well, a lark.
But everything changed in the second half — for the better for Gillen, and for the worse for Marlin.
Hugoton went on a 40-14 romp in the final 16 minutes, to win going away, 70-38, in the final game of the pre-holiday schedule for both teams.
The Lady Eagles improved to 4-2, while the Lady Larks fell to 4-4.
Kinser had a big night for sure — 21 points and 11 rebounds will get you there — but it was her blocked shots, assists and kicking the ball out to the open perimeter shootera that had Gillen smiling at game's end.
"She's a good passer and I felt like we did a much better job defensively in the second half, and that got us some good looks," Gillen said. "We still need to get better, but we're heading in the right direction."
Not only was Kinser a thorn in the Larks' side, but so were Ana Pena and Riley Sosa, as they were the long-range bombers for Gillen. Pena hit a trio of 3-pointers, all in the second quarter, while Sosa got a pair, both of which came in the second half.
"We've been pretty consistent hitting the threes," Gillen said. "It's something we like to see because then it opens things up inside for Nicole. She's so unselfish that sometimes she doesn't look herself to score."
And what did Gillen say to his girls at the break?
"Well, let's say it was a stern talk," Gillen said. "It was all about the effort on the defensive end, and we weren't getting that."
It must have worked, because the Lady Eagles came out rolling in the third quarter, going on a 15-2 run that pretty much put the game away. Sublette was never closer than 14 the rest of the game.
With Kinser getting eight of her 21 points in the third period, it was all but done for the Larks.
"We didn't have an answer for her," Marlin said of the 6-1 senior, who sat a good portion of the first half with two fouls. "We made a bunch of mistakes, and physically we just got beat up. They have all the tie-ups, loose balls, and that's why the game got away from us."
With just one senior — Riley Matteson — on his roster, and playing several freshmen and sophomores, Marlin said his team would keep working to improve, but for the future, would need to get stronger.
"That's why the weight room is so important," Marlin said when discussing Hugoton. "If we want to get to that level, we've got to get physically stronger. But I thought the girls played hard, I can't fault them for that. We made a lot of silly mistakes, but that's mostly because we're so young. We're making freshman mistakes."
Hugoton had struggled to a 10-8 first quarter lead before finishing the half up by six. It was 49-34 after three quarters.
In addition to Kinser's output, Pena and Sosa each finished with 11 points to provide a balanced attack for Hugoton. Matteson did manage to score 19 points for the Lady Larks, hitting 7-of-14 field goals and 3-of-5 free throws. Hugoton hit a blistering 53.7 percent of its field goals (29-of-54), while Sublette was a chilly 15-of-40 (37.5 percent). The Eagles won the rebounding battle 37-28. Alexis Orenlas, who had eight points for Sublette, led the team with seven rebounds. Sublette committed 25 turnovers to 21 for Hugoton.
Hugoton 10 20 19 21 -- 70
Sublette 8 16 10 4 -- 38
Hugoton (70) — Armendariz 3-4 0-2 6, Hittle 1-1 0-1 2, Hoskinson 2-5 0-0 4, Parsons 3-7 2-4 8, Mueller 2-6 1-2 5, Fiss 0-1 0-0 0, Jamenez 0-1 0-0 0, Pena 3-5 2-4 11, Kinser 10-12 1-2 21, Cornelson 1-2 0-0 2, Sosa 4-10 1-2 11. Totals 29-54 7-17 70.
Sublette (38) — Watson 3-7 2-4 8, Matteson 7-14 3-5 19, Briggs 1-7 1-3 3, Orenlas 4-4 0-2 8, Koehn 0-1 0-0 0, Cooley 0-2 0-0 0, Whaler 0-4 0-0 0, Gonzalez 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-40 6-14 38.
3-point goals--Hugoton 5-10 (Hoskinson 0-2, Pena 3-4, Sosa 2-4), Sublette 2-9 (Watson 0-2, Matteson 2-4, Briggs 0-3). Rebounds--Hugoton 37 (Kinser 11), Sublette 28 (Orenlas 7). Turnovers--Hugoton 21, Sublette 25. Fouls--Hugoton 19, Sublette 15. Fouled out--none.